The Teaching Team


Alan Swindell

Originally trained as a state teacher but has worked in Steiner education for over thirty years, as a class teacher, a language teacher, an upper school teacher and in school management. He has taught on a number of Steiner teacher training courses and co-ordinated PR and teacher education during his spell with the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship.

Teaching staff

Ruth Chadwick

(Kindergarten Redwood)

Ruth has always been interested in alternative education. She has always had a great enthusiasm for nature and brought her children up with a house cow, goats and a vegetable garden. She did her Steiner early years training in London and then worked in Steiner Kindergartens in Norway. Returning to the UK she was an assistant at the South Devon Steiner School for 4 years before joining us at SAE.

Samantha Buckle

(Kindergarten Sunbeams)

First encountered Steiner Education with her own children in 1999. She went on to receive a BA in Steiner education from Plymouth University in 2008.

Sam previously worked in a secondary school as a Forest School Leader, SEN Learning Coach and in the School’s Boarding House during the evenings. She returned to Steiner education in 2015 and worked as a Kindergarten Assistant. In 2017 she took over the role of Kindergarten teacher for Sunbeams.

Sam has a passion for the outdoors and holistic education and a personal interest in the wonder and mysteries that govern human behaviour and how individuals respond with the world around them. She has a particularly interest in the therapeutic value of playing outside and spending time in Nature.

Cathi Finbow

(Kindergarten Moonbeams)

Cathi has a degree in Steiner Education and for eight years was lead kindergarten teacher at the Exeter Steiner School.

Theresa Trapp

(Kindergarten Silverbirch)

Theresa has done the Steiner Early Years training course in London. She worked at The Exeter Steiner School for ten years and ran the Children’s Garden an independent kindergarten in Exeter for two years. Her youngest child attends The South Devon Steiner School with one more year to go!

Katherine Mee

(Kindergarten Spindlewood)

Frances Dantham

(Class One)

Simon Berkley

(Class Two)

Simon trained on the London Waldorf Teacher Training Seminar before becoming a class teacher at the South Devon Steiner School where he has carried several management responsibilities alongside his teaching work.

Sue Neale

(Class Three)

Sue has a degree in Steiner Education and a specialism in Art. She has been Class teaching at Exeter Steiner School and has had many roles at South Devon Steiner School, as parent volunteer and teacher, since her first child began kindergarten in 1993.

Jess Lynch-Thewless

(Class Four)

Jess attended Steiner schools from kindergarten to sixth form. She is a state-trained secondary teacher with a specialism in RE. She was a class teacher at the Nant-y-Cwm Steiner school in the west of Wales before joining us in Exeter.

Jenny Wragg

(Class Five)

Jenny is a graduate of the Emerson College `Heart of Education` teacher training course. She worked as a class teacher in the Moray Steiner school for five years, prior to which she taught in state primary schools. Jenny is currently studying Steiner Education at Masters level.

Victoria Watts

(Class Six)

Exeter born and bred, Vicki worked for many years as a forest school leader with primary and secondary school age children. She was a parent and child group leader at Exeter Steiner school and has recently worked in many of Exeter’s secondary schools as a supply teacher. She has a diploma in Steiner Education and has recently competed her Masters in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education.

Aegir Morgan

(Class Seven and Vice Principal)

Aegir (pronounced Ire), like many of our colleagues, studied Steiner education at Plymouth University. He has previously worked as a class teacher in the Brighton, Hereford and at Wynstones (Gloucester) Steiner schools. As VICE PRINCIPAL Aegir will also be playing a significant role in the management of the school. He was previously Principal of the Whistling Mountain Waldorf school in British Columbia.

Paul Hougham

(Class Eight & english lead)

Laila Darwish

(Guardian Class Nine & art and design lead)

Jane Pickering

(Maths and Science lead)

Jane comes from a background of science and engineering having gained her degree in Materials Engineering at the University of Surrey, including a year working and studying at CERN. Prior to relocating to Devon Jane has been teaching within the State sector in Buckinghamshire, teaching students from ear 7 though to A'Level. In addition to her Maths and Science specialism Jane has an MBA and studied Fine Art for two years at university

Clive Staples

(Behaviour and Learning support)

Clive has a degree in Steiner Education and has worked for twenty years with children with special educational needs. He gained his QTS at Bath Spa University where he is currently studying at Masters level. He is also training as a 'Thrive' practitioner and one of the Designated Safeguarding Officers.

Sarah O'Neill

(Sendco and lead safeguarding officer)

Sarah studied with the Open University to get an honours degree in psychology. She then went on to do a PGCE for Key stage 2 and 3 (7-14 yrs) with a specialism in design technology. Sarah then worked in a state primary school, during which time Sarah developed a passion for children that had additional needs which lead her to train as SENCO. She is now in the last year of her Masters in special educational needs.

Sara Jarman

(Behaviour and wellbeing specialist)

Catriona Ferguson


Catriona is an MFL expert and an Advanced Skills Teacher in primary languages. She has worked in both primary and secondary schools in the Exeter area for several years.

Tracy Adams


Adam Smale


Adam has a diploma in Steiner Education and until recently worked as a class and transition teacher at the Exeter Steiner School. He has been working at the academy since September 2013 as a teaching assistant and woodwork teacher.

Anna Goudge


Anna has a degree in Steiner Education and is an accomplished musician. Part of her training as a Steiner teacher was carried out in a remote village school in India.

Fran Andre


Daniel Friedeberg

(Enhanced teaching assistant and games teacher)

Daniel is a Steiner alumni, having attended Elmfield Steiner School. He trained as a Steiner teacher on the West of England Steiner Teacher Training Course. He will combine his teaching with the part-time training in Bothmer Gymnastics. He once represented the UK in Extreme Frisbee.

Nerea Yarto

(Circus skills and traditional play ground games)

Nerea has a degree in Steiner Education, is a specialised games teacher and an accomplished circus skills performer.

Duncan Arnot

(Enhanced teaching assistant and woodwork)

Duncan has recently completed his NQT year at Broadclyst Primary, having first expressed an interest in joining us and training as a Steiner teacher before we even opened. Duncan’s role as Enhanced Assistant will see him supporting in a range of classes as well as consolidating the woodwork department.

Teaching assistants & learning support assistants

In addition to the above list, each area of the school has a number of teaching assistants, as well as learning support assistants who are usually assigned to individual children.

Admin and Support

Jenny Salmon

(Resources manager)

Jenny is a former police officer and marine biologist with over fifteen years’ experience in education. She has worked in marine conservation and as a further education and adult education teacher. She was administrator at Exeter Steiner School for five years. Jenny is also a Designated Safeguarding Officer and responsible for admissions and attendance.

Mark Eyers

(Finance manager)

Mark worked for many years as the finance co-ordinator of the South Devon Steiner School, where he was responsible, amongst other things, for administering parental contributions and over-seeing its mandate management system.

Alice Knight

(Office and systems manager)

Alice trained as a planner and urban designer at Oxford Polytechnic, and worked for various councils in England and Scotland, as well as for a local Devon developer, before becoming self- employed and starting a family. Happy to try her hand at most things, more recently Alice was the centre manager at Exwick Community Centre. She is also a trustee of a local Devon charity, ADUMASA, which supports the children in three villages in the Ashanti region of Ghana.

Katie Young

(Communication lead and PA to principal)

Katie was a specialist midwife for young mums and vulnerable women. After having children she discovered Steiner education and has been involved ever since. Previously she was Receptionist at The Cambridge Steiner School.

Caroline Fisher

(Purchasing officer)

Sam Rose


Diane Workman